NAV AS 101 Lesson 2: Am I anti add-on?

exclamation-pointQuite a few people have asked me if I’m anti add-on. The answer is, “No, I’m not anti add-on, I’m just really pro account schedule.” I believe account schedules can do whatever you need related to foundational financial reporting using NAV. If you are looking to produce your basic financial statements using the software you already own with no additional cost or separate tool, then account schedules are exactly what you need.

There are many more reasons for needing reporting other than financial reporting, and NAV does not fulfill all of these needs. If you are looking for a comprehensive Business Intelligence solution, Key Performance Indicators, Dashboards, sophisticated graphics, beautiful interfaces, or even operational reporting that reaches out to other areas of your ERP system before the information hits the general ledger, then account schedules are not the tool for you.

If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics NAV user, like I am, there are a whole ton of choices to make regarding financial reporting.

  • Account Schedules, the native financial reporting package that reports on general ledger transactions.
  • Analysis Reports, also a native NAV reporting option, that extends reporting to item ledger entries from the sales and purchasing tables.
  • Object Designer, the native C/SIDE development tool used for the NAV application, which includes a report writer.
  • SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services), a Microsoft reporting tool package that uses the SQL programming language.
  • PowerPivot, the free Microsoft Excel add-on that became available with Microsoft Office 2010, allowing data to load from NAV (and other data sources) through a direct connection to Excel.
  • JET Express, a former ISV (Independent Software Vendor) reporting solution, released for NAV 2009 in 2011 as available for NAV users, and included with the Microsoft BREP (Business Ready Enhancement Plan), instead of as a separately purchased add-on solution.
  • Management Reporter, released by Microsoft in 2012 as a free add-on for all Microsoft Dynamics ERPs with the caveat that, for NAV users, it is only available if you already had the licensing for FRx.
  • Any large number of additional ISV solutions, sold as separately purchased add-ons to NAV.

As the Controller for my company, it’s my job to stay informed on what’s available and determine which choices are the best possible given the available skills sets of the employees who use them and the overall cost. It’s also my job to make sure I know what the future direction of the ERP software is, so I can advise on decisions we make as a company with that knowledge in hand.

I have to admit, I’m the kind of person who likes choices, and I’ve sampled every single option on the list above in one way or another. The reporting strategy for my company is based on three principles:  1) the report must balance to the general ledger, 2) it must be consistently replicated in future periods, 3) it must be able to be maintained by someone in the company with the right skill set.

Ultimately, my choice for foundational financial reporting, the reporting that I need to produce as a deliverable for my company each and every month, is account schedules.

This posting is part of the NAV Account Schedules 101 series.  Find the entire list of lessons here.

Don’t forget to visit the Account Schedule Formulas and Account Schedule Examples pages if you’re looking for even more ideas on how to improve your financial reporting using account schedules with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.


NAV AS 101 Lesson 1: Why do I use Account Schedules?

decesion_makingI use account schedules as the primary source of financial reporting at my company. With all the available choices out there, why do I use account schedules? I’ve got a whole list of reasons.

1)  I can custom build all of my financial statements, exactly how I want to see them.  

Especially when I talk with prospective NAV customers, I hear a lot of objections as to why NAV doesn’t come with “out of the box” financial statements. If you think about this for a bit, what part of your company’s financials will fit the definition of “out of the box”? Is your chart of accounts the same as someone else’s? What about the name of your accounts? Your numbering convention? Is the way you present your financial statements just like anyone else’s? If you built your financial statements using an out of the box solution, how long would it be before you began to customize them?

Why not build them the way you want them the first time and be able to customize them as your company changes?

2)  Account schedules tie directly to the general ledger.

Someone told me once that reporting from the general ledger was the best way to get to the truth. Since my financial statements have got to be accurate and consistent above all else, I like this idea. I know, that without a doubt, my account schedules tie back to my trial balance and my detailed transactional postings. I can prove it out over and over. I can use my account schedules to debunk some of the untruths that come out of some of our other reporting sources. Knowing I can get to the truth makes me trust the results I get from account schedules and gives me confidence in deeming them as the place to get exactly the right answer.

3)  Budgets integrate really well with account schedules.

I use the budgets area of NAV extensively. However, I only actually touch the budgets area once a year, when I populate them with our next years’ data. Budgets integrate to account schedules so fluidly that I have no reason to go back and forth between the two during the year as I track how we’re doing in comparison to budget or even as I look ahead to remind myself of what the plan was. I can get this information from account schedules and get all my financial information from one place.

4)  Dimensions along with account schedules are a powerful combination.

Account schedules without dimensions are like James Bond without Q. James Bond can certainly hold his own without all the gadgets, but come on, the things that Q adds are really cool! Adding dimensions in almost as many combinations as you can think of gives you added power in your account schedules and lets you stretch beyond mere financial reporting and expand into operational reporting.

5)  Drill downs

The drill down feature from account schedules is unsurpassed as a quick research tool. Any number you can produce in an account schedule that comes from the general ledger (instead of as the result of a formula) can get you to the source of the number by drilling down. That means you can find the exact source(s) of a highly summarized number whether it comes from an invoice or a journal entry, and you can track down where that number came from, when it happened, and even who the user was who created it.

6)  They export easily to Excel.

My monthly financial statement package is 18 pages, all produced out of account schedules. Each month, I export directly to Excel and produce reports that are consistently formatted and look the same every month. I’ve got good control over the process while still having the flexibility I need when we decide we want to make a change. All of this gets loaded up to SharePoint for the end users who use them, and no tree products are harmed in the production of our financials.

7)  Account schedules can be built and maintained by finance folks without IT help.

This is, and always has been, the big seller for me. I’m a DIY kind of person. I do my own landscaping, I bake my own bread (not all the time), I can build a fire while camping, and I painted my own living room. These same principles flow through to my business. I want to be able to do it myself. I love my IT colleagues, but goodness knows they have enough to do without having to produce my financials. Account schedules are easy enough to use that I don’t need to know a programming language, or how to accomplish a table join, in order to build them. All I need is knowledge of my chart of accounts, what the structure of my dimensions and budgets are, what the differences are between balance sheet and income statement accounts, and some simple formulas.

This posting is part of the NAV Account Schedules 101 series.  Find the entire list of lessons here.

Don’t forget to visit the Account Schedule Formulas and Account Schedule Examples pages if you’re looking for even more ideas on how to improve your financial reporting using account schedules with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.


NAV Account Schedules 101

I’ve decided to give away my account schedule class material here on the blog in this Series: NAV Account Schedules 101. Check back to see what’s been added, or choose to follow the blog to receive email updates (or subscribe to the RSS feed), so you don’t miss any of these when they come out. Most examples and screen shots will be shown in NAV2013, but I’ll make sure to tie back any significant differences to 5.0 and NAV2009 Classic and RTC. The list of topics we’ll be covering is below and you’ll see two or three new ones come out every week until we’re through the whole list.

Don’t forget to visit the Account Schedule Formulas and Account Schedule Examples pages if you’re looking for even more ideas on how to improve your financial reporting using account schedules with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

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NAV AS 101 Lesson 1: Why do I use Account Schedules?

NAV AS 101 Lesson 2: Am I anti add-on?

NAV AS 101 Lesson 3: Where else can you learn about Account Schedules?

NAV AS 101 Lesson 4: Basic Elements of Account Schedules

NAV AS 101 Lesson 5: Getting Started

NAV AS 101 Lesson 6: Row Setup

NAV AS 101 Lesson 7: Column Layout

NAV AS 101 Lesson 8: Formatting

NAV AS 101 Lesson 9: Formulas

NAV AS 101 Lesson 10: Comparison Period v. Comparison Date

NAV AS 101 Lesson 11: Filtering

NAV AS 101 Lesson 12: Drilling Down

NAV AS 101 Lesson 13: Printing Account Schedules

NAV AS 101 Lesson 14: Exporting to Excel

NAV AS 101 Lesson 15: Dimensions with Account Schedules

NAV AS 101 Lesson 16: Analysis Views

NAV AS 101 Lesson 17: Budgets with Account Schedules

NAV AS 101 Lesson 18: Account Schedules not balancing?

NAV AS 101 Lesson 19: Row numbering

NAV AS 101 Lesson 20: Sharing with your friends

NAV AS 101 Lesson 21: Account Schedule Bugs

NAV AS 101 Lesson 22: Dealing with Zeros

NAV AS 101 Lesson23: Copy and Paste

NAV AS 101 Lesson 24: When to change the sign

NAV AS 101 Lesson 25: What else can I do with Account Schedules?


DynamicsNAVFinancials.com turns Two!

April marks the blogiversary month for Dynamics NAV Financials, and this year, we turn two!

I continue to be blown away by how this blog continues to grow. This time last year, we had about 15,000 views and now we’re just over 70,000. We’ve gained more than 150 regular email followers, and forty more countries who follow the blog – there are now people from more than 160 countries reading Dynamics NAV Financials with top readership in the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, and Philippines as well as the United States.

About 20 people stop by the blog every day to reference the Account Schedule Formulas and Account Schedule Examples pages, and we’ve had two really popular series in the last year: 15 Days of NAV Dimensions and 50 Tips in 50 Days. The 50 Tips series can also be found out on YouTube since each and every tip is a short instructional video. If you’ve missed any of these just follow the links to see what other people are learning about NAV.

Publishing over two entries a week in the last year, there’s a lot to choose from, but in the month of April, I’ll be launching a new series called NAV Account Schedules 101. Enjoy, and thank you so much for following! There would be no reason to do this without you!


Celebration Picture

Just had to share one last souvenir from our celebration of the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics Customer Excellence Community Champion award.

From left to right: Kirill Tatarinov, Microsoft; Tom Doran, ABC Computers; Marc Allman, AMS Controls; Trish Boccuti, Fastpath; Suzanne Scanlan, Archerpoint; Kerry Rosvold, Augsburg Fortress; Greg Kaupp, Archerpoint; Tom Blaisdell, Microsoft; Jon Rivers, Datamasons; Andy Hafer, Dynamic Communities; Wayne Morris, Microsoft.

Kerry Rosvold, Augsburg Fortress


Great news to share with Dynamics NAV Financials blog readers

Just had to share with all of you who follow the blog that I’m joining the ranks of Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Customer Excellence award winners and am being recognized as a Community Champion in 2014! From the Convergence site, “The Community Champion Award recognizes a person who shares their expertise with the Microsoft Dynamics community in activities such as speaking at conferences, contributing to community forums, blogging about tips and tricks, and more.”

Thank you to all who have read the blog, followed me on Twitter, sent me emails, and participated in classes, webinars, and conference sessions over the past five years. I’ve enjoyed every minute of helping people to solve problems, improve processes, and make connections in this wonderful community! Special thanks in particular to the NAVUG leadership teams, past and present, who have shaped my involvement in this community and encouraged me endlessly.

Congratulations to ALL of the Convergence 2014 Customer Excellence award winners!  Each and every one of these individuals and companies are leveraging their Microsoft Dynamics solutions to excel at what they do. Please take a moment to view the entire list here and celebrate with this group of exceptional companies.

Kerry Rosvold Recognized for Outstanding Business Achievements

Earns Microsoft Dynamics® Community Champion Award

Minneapolis, MN — February 18, 2014— Kerry Rosvold was recognized by Microsoft® with the 2014 Community Champion Award as part of the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Excellence Awards program. She will be honored by Microsoft executives at an awards luncheon on Wednesday, March 5, at Convergence 2014 Atlanta, the premier Microsoft Dynamics user conference.

The 2014 Customer Excellence Awards, which are presented in 17 categories, recognize and celebrate Microsoft Dynamics customers that have achieved notable accomplishments using their Microsoft Dynamics solutions.

Established in 1997, the Customer Excellence Awards are awarded each year at the Convergence user conference in the United States. Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that help businesses work more effectively.

Kerry Rosvold has been the Corporate Controller at Augsburg Fortress since 2008, and has been using Microsoft Dynamics NAV as her ERP of choice since 2004. Kerry has been an active member of the NAV user group (NAVUG) since 2009, serving on both the board of advisors and programming committee. Kerry has also served as a Microsoft Convergence customer advisory board member since 2010. She frequently conducts webinars, speaks, and teaches classes on NAV financial topics. She blogs regularly at www.dynamicsnavfinancials.com and also can be found on Twitter @krosvold.

Augsburg Fortress, the ministry of publishing of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, creates books, curricula, and resources that communicate the Gospel, enhance faith, and enrich the life of the Church and the communities it serves. Augsburg Fortress reinvests all profits made into the development of new ministry resources. For more information, visit augsburgfortress.org.

 

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Products mentioned in this release are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective holders.

 


NAV Account Schedule Examples Page on Dynamics NAV Financials Blog

newThere’s a new feature to the Dynamics NAV Financials blog – a page dedicated to showing examples of account schedules!  You will find foundational row setups and column layouts available for your reference as you build and improve the financial statements you use for your company.  There are examples of a trial balance, balance sheet, and income statement here, but also examples of how to include base for percent and dimensions in your schedules, and plenty of options for how to use columns. Each page features the design view for the relevant row setup or column layout as well as a results view showing how the end-user will see it on-screen.

Hopefully you’ll find this page as useful as you have the Account Schedules Formulas page.  As the blog has grown, so has the use of the formulas page, with high traffic on this page especially as readers reference the formulas they need for their account schedules!

I’m launching a 12 week series on account schedules starting mid-April that will refer to many of these examples as we move through the series, so stay tuned. Thanks for following Dynamics NAV Financials!


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